The Student Room Group

Tough decision between universities for Ecology/ Zoology

Hi! So I am currently studying in Arts Bournemouth, and am completely changing career paths into Ecology/ Zoology courses. My current problem is: I already have a house here for next year, which I paid for, and already spent a year here so I am very comfortable in Bournemouth. However, Bournemouth Uni is not very well-known for their Ecology course, and while I like the uni, I've heard that the contact hours are very low. I recently got offers for Zoology at Leeds, Exeter, Royal Holloway and Reading Uni, and I am really liking Leeds the best, but I've got a lot to consider:

Transport- I can't afford to do the journey to visit family often, and can't afford a car.
Job- I need to keep my part-time job to survive at uni, I could transfer to a store in Leeds, however this wouldn't be possible for Exeter as I would be on the Cornwall Campus.
Accommodation- I've already signed a contract and paid a deposit for a house in Bournemouth next year, so I'd have to find someone else to live in my house, and also it might be hard to find accommodation for the new uni as it's late in the year.

I'm very comfortable in Bournemouth, but I don't know if it'll be a mistake to pass up the opportunity to study at a more prestigious uni for my specific topic (I know BU is great for media, but their biology department seems very small). I can volunteer lots here since we are near the coast so that might be good for my career, but I'm not sure how much the university's prestige matters in this industry, and which uni would give me a better education.

Any advice would be great!
Original post by jrodr25
Hi! So I am currently studying in Arts Bournemouth, and am completely changing career paths into Ecology/ Zoology courses. My current problem is: I already have a house here for next year, which I paid for, and already spent a year here so I am very comfortable in Bournemouth. However, Bournemouth Uni is not very well-known for their Ecology course, and while I like the uni, I've heard that the contact hours are very low. I recently got offers for Zoology at Leeds, Exeter, Royal Holloway and Reading Uni, and I am really liking Leeds the best, but I've got a lot to consider:
Transport- I can't afford to do the journey to visit family often, and can't afford a car.
Job- I need to keep my part-time job to survive at uni, I could transfer to a store in Leeds, however this wouldn't be possible for Exeter as I would be on the Cornwall Campus.
Accommodation- I've already signed a contract and paid a deposit for a house in Bournemouth next year, so I'd have to find someone else to live in my house, and also it might be hard to find accommodation for the new uni as it's late in the year.
I'm very comfortable in Bournemouth, but I don't know if it'll be a mistake to pass up the opportunity to study at a more prestigious uni for my specific topic (I know BU is great for media, but their biology department seems very small). I can volunteer lots here since we are near the coast so that might be good for my career, but I'm not sure how much the university's prestige matters in this industry, and which uni would give me a better education.
Any advice would be great!

Hi there,

It's great to hear you're considering your options and we'd love for you to find out more about studying Zoology with us at Royal Holloway. You can find out more about our course here: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/studying-here/undergraduate/biological-sciences/zoology including the course content.

By studying Zoology with us you’ll gain the invaluable skills and experience you need to work in a wide range of sectors, with a combination of lab experience and independent research making you an attractive prospect for potential employers. You can also go on to further education like Graduate Entry Veterinary Medicine or study for a Masters in our vibrant scientific community at Royal Holloway.

Come to our campus to view the fantastic facilities, see where you could be studying and living and find out more about what Royal Holloway has to offer. We run regular guided tours of our Egham campus, or if you can't make the dates, you're welcome to come along for a self-led tour: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/student-life/visit-royal-holloway/book-a-campus-tour/

Our campus is one of the most beautiful in the world with numerous teaching and study spaces, bars and cafés, high-quality accommodation, and sports facilities. Visit our campus and get a real feel for student life at one of our Open Days. You can find out more information on this page: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/student-life/visit-royal-holloway/open-days/.

Hope this helps, give me a shout if you do have any other questions about Royal Holloway!

Best wishes,

Royal Holloway, University of London Rep
Original post by jrodr25
Hi! So I am currently studying in Arts Bournemouth, and am completely changing career paths into Ecology/ Zoology courses. My current problem is: I already have a house here for next year, which I paid for, and already spent a year here so I am very comfortable in Bournemouth. However, Bournemouth Uni is not very well-known for their Ecology course, and while I like the uni, I've heard that the contact hours are very low. I recently got offers for Zoology at Leeds, Exeter, Royal Holloway and Reading Uni, and I am really liking Leeds the best, but I've got a lot to consider:
Transport- I can't afford to do the journey to visit family often, and can't afford a car.
Job- I need to keep my part-time job to survive at uni, I could transfer to a store in Leeds, however this wouldn't be possible for Exeter as I would be on the Cornwall Campus.
Accommodation- I've already signed a contract and paid a deposit for a house in Bournemouth next year, so I'd have to find someone else to live in my house, and also it might be hard to find accommodation for the new uni as it's late in the year.
I'm very comfortable in Bournemouth, but I don't know if it'll be a mistake to pass up the opportunity to study at a more prestigious uni for my specific topic (I know BU is great for media, but their biology department seems very small). I can volunteer lots here since we are near the coast so that might be good for my career, but I'm not sure how much the university's prestige matters in this industry, and which uni would give me a better education.
Any advice would be great!

Hi @jrodr25,
Great to hear you're interested in Reading! It sounds like you've really thought your criteria through, which I think will be really helpful in making a decision.

Firstly, I'd recommend visiting all of the uni's you're interested in to get a feel for how you will feel studying there - you can actually get a direct train from Bournemouth to Reading in less than an hour and a half! I assume you've already looked at all of the different modules offered by universities, but if not then you can see ours linked here for Zoology and here for Ecology. Is there one in particular you're interested in? I think as long as you like the modules and support offered at the uni (academic and careers) you'll be able to excel - prestige doesn't usually matter as much as experience!

In terms of the accommodation issue, there are usually people looking for accommodation/ attempting to pass theirs on all across summer and even into september/october so hopefully it won't be too much of an issue! There are a couple of facebook groups used for students coming to Reading it may be worth searching for.

We also have a range of part-time jobs here, offered both by/within the uni and by the local shops and businesses in central reading which is a short bus ride away from our main campus, so I'm sure you could find something or organise a transfer! You might want to check out our Essentials page to find out a bit more about studying and working here in Reading.

Ultimately, make sure you do your research and follow your gut - your uni experience is largely what you make of it so using your criteria you listed should really help you with this!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

Kat :smile:
MA Diplomacy Student
Original post by jrodr25
Hi! So I am currently studying in Arts Bournemouth, and am completely changing career paths into Ecology/ Zoology courses. My current problem is: I already have a house here for next year, which I paid for, and already spent a year here so I am very comfortable in Bournemouth. However, Bournemouth Uni is not very well-known for their Ecology course, and while I like the uni, I've heard that the contact hours are very low. I recently got offers for Zoology at Leeds, Exeter, Royal Holloway and Reading Uni, and I am really liking Leeds the best, but I've got a lot to consider:
Transport- I can't afford to do the journey to visit family often, and can't afford a car.
Job- I need to keep my part-time job to survive at uni, I could transfer to a store in Leeds, however this wouldn't be possible for Exeter as I would be on the Cornwall Campus.
Accommodation- I've already signed a contract and paid a deposit for a house in Bournemouth next year, so I'd have to find someone else to live in my house, and also it might be hard to find accommodation for the new uni as it's late in the year.
I'm very comfortable in Bournemouth, but I don't know if it'll be a mistake to pass up the opportunity to study at a more prestigious uni for my specific topic (I know BU is great for media, but their biology department seems very small). I can volunteer lots here since we are near the coast so that might be good for my career, but I'm not sure how much the university's prestige matters in this industry, and which uni would give me a better education.
Any advice would be great!

Hi Jrodr25,

My name is Will, I'm a Media Production student at Bournemouth Uni

I completely understand where you are coming from in regards to the contact hours point you mentioned. It is something that students are actively campaigning to being addressed and I know progressed is being made.
As you are already familiar with the Bournemouth local area, you will know that it is the perfect place to study ecology with the New Forest on our doorstep, the Jurassic coast a 10 minute walk from the town centre, Poole Harbour and places like Brownsea Island only a stone's through away from our campus.

I hope this helps and best of luck with your studies
Will
BU Student Rep

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